Every day we get emails from someone promising to put our website at the top of page one of Google. Like anything expert, Search Engine Optimization can be expensive. What do SEO experts do? Can you do it yourself?
A search engine`s job is to list web pages in order of relevance to the words a visitor has entered in the search box.
To evaluate the relevance of a web page, Google examines its content and counts the number of other relevant web pages that link to the page. So you need to work on both content and incoming links.
Key words are words or phrases that visitors use to describe what they are looking for in a Google search. There may be several alternative key words. Use as many as you can.
Domain name is an ideal container of key words. If your domain name does not contain keywords, you can register another one that does and have both open the same website. For example billsshop.com can have billscamomileteas.com parked on the hosting and listed for search engines.
Title metatag that shows top left of the browser should sum up what the page is about. Up to 70 characters are significant to Google. Don`t call it �Home page�. Put into the title tag as many key words from the content of the page as possible. Each web page in a site should have a different title tag.
Description metatag can be as long as necessary to describe the content of the page. Web pages without description metatags are wasting SEO points. Each page should have different description metatags.
Navigation menu should be text not graphics. Search engines don`t read graphics. The menu items in text are scored as hyperlinks.
Title or heading, showing on the page itself should include a key word. Pages without headings are wasting SEO points. A title �About us� gets no points. �About Camomile Tea� is useful for a website promoting camomile tea. HTML coding for a page title should be H1.
Sub-headings should have HTML code H2 or lower.
Hyperlinks: Any key words in your text can be made more important by being hyperlinks to open other pages. Email addresses should be key words as they are also hyperlinks to open email, e.g. not info@, but tea@ (if tea is the product).
Text should be descriptive of the products, business, or objects of the website, with as much information as possible. If everything else is equal then websites with more information are ranked higher than those with less information. Don`t try to cram all your information on one page, but divide it into several pages. That makes it easier for visitors to read it, but also provides more menu hyperlinks to score with Google.
How easy is optimizing content? At this point I should mention that all the above is easier using WordPress, where some items are automatically optimized and some are catered for using SEO plugins.
Directories: Links from legitimate directories like True Local, Chamber of Commerce websites, Industry Groups, etc. should be obtained. Don`t go to link farms whose only purpose is to provide links. Google downgrades websites using link farms.
Other relevant websites are a good source of links and this is where you can create your own. You can own as many websites as you like. Domain names are cheap. Hosting is cheap. If you take hosting with WordPress installed you can create these subsidiary websites very quickly.
Don`t put them online all at once, but spread the launching over a few months. Google is suspicious of the sudden appearance of a large number of incoming links to a main site. Any obvious SEO campaign won`t score with Google.
Each of these subsidiary websites should stand alone on its merits. Examples are say camomileteachicago.com, camomileteaboston.com camomileteaparty.com and newyorkscamomiletea.com which can all be specifically for different areas, but relevant to the product. The graphics can be all the same, but the text must be different on each. Duplicate websites don`t score with Google.
Articles published for you by article publishing websites also provide valuable incoming links to your site from the profile that you submit with each article. These articles should not be about your website but about a topic that can include your key words.
The object of incoming links is to show that your website is important to other relevant websites and therefore more relevant to any search.
SEO experts will do all the above but for a higher cost. You are in a better position to know your business than anyone else.
Among the many emails we get from SEO experts are some that do not ring true. We think that if they were really SEO experts they would have their own website at the top of page one of Google. If you do pay an expert make sure you know what work they will do and that you retain control of hosting the site.
This article is not to dissuade you from paying for SEO, but to explain how it works, so that you can decide whether you can do it yourself.
These articles were first published on www.platywebs.com.au and have been re-published on many other websites and ezines over the years. New readers are still finding them to be of value and up to date with today’s conditions. We believe they illustrate common sense and the value of thinking through situations. Please check out the other articles advising on small business, web design, search engine optimisation, web hosting and domain names.